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Policies and Procedures

Policies and Procedures

Student Status

Policies topic: Attendance

Classroom Attendance Requirement

Full-time attendance is required at Penn Carey Law. Residence beyond commuting distance or full-time extracurricular employment is inconsistent with the full-time residence requirement.

Students have a responsibility for full-time attendance. Professors may also establish their own attendance requirements. In the event that a student is not meeting the attendance standards, the Dean of Students may consult with students who are failing to attend class. The Dean of Students can take informal action to assess why or how attendance is limited and offer assistance to the student so that the student might return to class.

When it appears from prolonged and pervasive absence from classes that a student is not in substantial compliance with the requirement of full-time attendance at Penn Carey Law, the Dean of Students will, on notice to such student, charge him or her with failure to meet that requirement. The charge shall be heard by the Committee on Academic Standing, which shall determine whether, by reason of unjustifiable prolonged and pervasive absence, the student has failed to maintain full-time attendance at the Law School. If the Committee upholds the accuracy of the charge, the student shall not receive credit for the semester or semesters involved.

If a student fails to meet a stated and announced attendance policy in a second or third year elective, the faculty member shall, prior to initiating any proceeding under this section, attempt to adjust the problem through informal discussion with the student. Should such attempts be unsuccessful, the faculty member may seek to deny the student credit for the course and award the grade of “Fail - No Credit” or require the student to drop the course (1L classes may not be dropped). The student in question may, by appealing to the Committee on Academic Standing, seek review of the accuracy of the faculty member’s belief that he or she has failed to comply with the requirements in question, and of the reasonableness of the attendance requirement and of the student’s actions, but review shall not extend to the appropriateness of the sanction. The decision of the faculty member may be postponed until after the student’s examination is anonymously graded, but if it is so postponed, the faculty member shall take the grade into account in deciding whether credit should be denied. The reasonableness of a decision to deny credit shall be reviewable by the Committee on Academic Standing on appeal by the student.

If a student registered in any course without a formally stated attendance policy appears not to be in regular attendance, the faculty member involved may, by notice to the student, establish specific future conditions of attendance. The student may seek review of the reasonableness of the future conditions by the Committee on Academic Standing. If the student thereafter unreasonably fails to meet these conditions, the faculty member may deny the student credit for the course and award the grade of “Fail (No Credit)” or require the student to drop the course (1L classes may not be dropped). This decision may be postponed until after the student’s examination is anonymously graded, but if it is so postponed the faculty member shall take the grade into account in deciding whether credit should be denied and the reasonableness of a decision to deny credit shall be reviewable by the Committee on Academic Standing on appeal by the student. (Faculty Minutes, November 21, 1988).

Policies topic: Leave Of Absence

Leaves Of Absence/Withdrawals

Voluntary Leave of Absence:

Students take time away from their legal studies for a variety of reasons. A student anticipating an extended absence from the Law School shall confer with the Dean of Students in person and, after meeting with the Dean of Students, shall submit a petition for a leave of absence in writing.

Permission to take a leave shall be granted at the discretion of the Dean of Students. The student will receive a written letter approving the leave, outlining the terms of the leave, including the duration, and advising of steps to return.  A leave of absence cannot extend more than two years.

We advise students meet with the Financial Aid Office at the Law School to understand how being on leave will impact any financial obligations, including the repayment of student loans.

While on leave, a student is not enrolled in classes at Penn Carey Law School, but the student will continue to have access to their law school email account.  Once the leave of absence has been processed by the Registrar, the action is noted on the transcript.   

Discontinuance of study without permission from the Dean of Students does not constitute a leave of absence.

Returning from Leave:

To request to return from a leave of absence, the student should inform the Dean of Students and the Law Registrar, in writing. Requests to return from leave should be submitted by June 15 for a return in the fall term, and October 15 for a return in the spring term.

In some cases, a leave of absence will stipulate conditions that must be met in order for a student to return.  All conditions for return, as specified in the letter granting the leave of absence, must be satisfied before returning from leave.

Involuntary Leave of Absence:

The Law School may place a student on an involuntary leave of absence or require conditions for continued attendance under the following circumstances:

  • Academic Reasons
    As noted in the section on Academic Review, students with poor academic progress may be asked by the Committee on Academic Standing to withdraw or take a leave of absence from the Law School. 
  • Other Reasons
    The Law School or University may place a student on an involuntary leave of absence or require conditions for continued attendance under the following circumstances when the student exhibits behavior resulting from a psychological, psychiatric, or other medical condition that:
    • harms or threatens to harm the health or safety of the student or others;
    • causes or threatens to cause significant property damage; or
    • significantly disrupts the educational and other activities of the University community.
  • For more information, consult the Pennbook Involuntary Leave of Absence guidelines.

Withdrawal from Law School:

Students wishing to withdraw from the Law School shall meet with the Dean of Students to make the appropriate arrangements.

Refund of Tuition and General Fee

A student who is granted a leave of absence, or who withdraws, voluntarily or involuntarily, during either semester of the academic year, will be eligible for a refund of tuition and general fee in accordance with the conditions set forth below. The acceptance fee is not refunded except when a student withdraws for active duty with the armed forces.

The effective date of separation from the University is the last date of attendance of classes. 

In cases of leave or withdrawal, tuition and fees are charged at 10% per week for the first ten weeks of the semester, and thereafter the full tuition and fee charges apply. 

Policies topic: Official Transcripts

Official Transcripts

Incoming students must provide the Law School with official transcripts verifying all academic credits undertaken and degree(s) conferred. Transcripts must be mailed in sealed envelopes directly from the applicable undergraduate or graduate institutions or submitted through an authorized electronic transcript service. Per American Bar Association regulations, official transcripts must be provided by October 15 at the latest. Students who fail to comply with this deadline will be administratively withdrawn.

Policies topic: Payment of Tuition

Payment Due Date, Penalties for Non-Payment

All University bills for tuition and fees are due before or during the registration period each term, as specified. The University reserves the right to deny registration, certain Law School activities (including On-Campus Recruiting), withhold transcripts, and all other information regarding the record of any student who is in arrears in the payment of tuition, fees, or any other charges, including student loans, and to exclude such a student from classes and examinations. The student will be held accountable for all absences resulting from the operation of this rule.

Continued Delinquency

For continued delinquency in payment of debts to the University, the student may be permanently dropped from the University. No one shall be granted a certificate of withdrawal or be recommended for a degree who has not paid in full all of his or her financial obligations. The enforcement of this penalty shall not relieve the student of the obligation to pay all outstanding financial obligations to the University, including those for the term to which the penalty applies.

Late Payments

There will be a late payment penalty on all outstanding financial obligations owed to the University.

Policies topic: Satisfactory Academic Progress

Referrals of JD Students: Applicability

The following students shall be referred to the Committee on Academic Standing by the Dean of Students: a) students who receive two or more grades of “F”, three or more grades of “C”, or one F and two C’s; b) students who fail to complete all first-year credits during the first year in residence; c) students who have not devoted themselves fully to the study of law, as identified by their attendance at substantially less than all of their scheduled classes; and d) students with more than 6 credits outstanding at the conclusion of the academic year.

Students who receive three or more grades of B- or below and are not otherwise described above shall be referred to the Committee on Academic Standing by the Dean of Students unless the Dean of Students certifies that the student is in compliance with an academic supervision program established by the Director of Academic Support.

Additional students may be referred to the Committee on Academic Standing at the discretion of the Dean of Students. (Faculty Minutes, February 10, 2020).

Referrals of JD Students: Committee Review


Once a student is referred, the Committee shall review the student’s record and shall give the student an opportunity to meet with it, in order to consider whether that student shall be permitted to continue at the Law School.

Committee Action

The Committee may deny the student permission to continue in the School or may permit the student to return to the School on such conditions as it deems appropriate to the student’s successful completion of the Law School program.

(1) Permission to Continue Upon Receipt of Certain Grades

A student who has completed all first-year credits but has received two or more grades of “F”, three or more grades of “C”, or one F and two C’s shall be permitted to continue at the Law School only if the Committee finds, in its discretion, that there is reason to expect substantial improvement in academic performance. Permission to continue shall be upon such conditions as the Committee deems appropriate.

(2) Conditions

Conditions to be imposed by the Committee may include, among others:

(a) repetition of one or more courses in which the student has received the grade of “F”;

(b) limitation of the number of hours for which a student may enroll in subsequent semesters;

(c) enrollment for one or more semesters in addition to the normal three-year program; and

(d) completion of outstanding credits.

(e) Notwithstanding requirement 2(b), a student who receives two or more grades of “F” in the first-year courses and who is permitted to continue in School must complete additional credit hours. The number of credit hours required for graduation in (d) is increased by the number of credit hours in courses for which the student received the grade of “F” minus the number of credits in the lowest credit bearing class for which the student received a grade of “F.”

Subsequent Referral to the Committee

In the event a student is subsequently referred to the Committee under any other provision of these rules, the Committee shall take into consideration, in its disposition of the student’s case, the extent to which the student has complied with the Committee’s recommendation.

Action by Dean of Students

The Dean of Students may take additional steps deemed appropriate to offer institutional support to those students whose grades place them near the bottom of their class in any semester, including referrals to the Academic Support program, and the Office of Career Strategy.

Referrals of Upper Level JDs: Applicability

JD students who have completed their first-year in residence shall be referred to the Committee on Academic Standing when they:

a) fail to complete an upper level course in which they are enrolled;

b) receive grades of “F” in more than seven hours of credit during their second and third academic years; or

c) fail to satisfy the degree requirements after six or more semesters.

Referrals of Upper Level JDs: Committee Review

The Committee shall take such action as it deems appropriate. The Committee may deny permission for the student to continue, with or without conditions. Any student permitted to continue in the School after completion of six full-time semesters may be required to complete at least eight hours of credit in any additional semester.

Policies topic: Students With Disabilities

Students With Disabilities

Responsibility for disability accommodations is shared between the University’s Office of Student Disability Services (SDS) and the Law School.

Short-term accommodations for a temporary condition: Penn Carey Law will review and implement temporary requests for accommodations. Requests are made to the Associate Dean of Students. Upon receiving a request for an accommodation, the Associate Dean of Students will meet with the student to review and assess the request, evaluate any accompanying documentation of the condition, and then coordinate appropriate accommodations that meet the needs of the student and remain in line with the fundamental educational programs of the Law School.  Accommodation requests for temporary conditions not related to a disability, such as an unforeseen family emergency, should also be directed to the Associate Dean of Students. More information on a need for exam accommodations can be found here: Exams • Registrar

Semester or Long-term accommodations: Students seeking longer term accommodations are advised to submit a request with the University’s Student Disabilities Services Office (SDS). Here is a link to their services: Disability Services – Weingarten Center (

Students submit the request for an accommodation through SDS’s Student Portal, with supporting documentation of the disability.  Students will meet with a Disability Services staff member. Students are encouraged to begin this process as soon as the accommodation is needed as it can take SDS up to 4 weeks to review documentation and approve accommodations. SDS will notify Penn Carey Law’s Associate Dean of Students of any approved accommodation.

Upon receipt of an approved accommodation from SDS, the Associate Dean of Students will review the approved accommodation and coordinate its implementation. The Law School retains discretion as to how best to implement approved accommodations and an accommodation that fundamentally alters the educational program may not be implemented in its entirety, e.g., extended exam time accommodations will only be implemented on exams that are less than 24 hours in duration.

Common accommodations approved by SDS for Law students include: extended time for exams; break time during exams; ability to use a computer during class for note-taking; access to a SDS-provided note-taker; ability to stand and stretch during class; and distraction-reduced or private exam spaces.

Questions about the Law School’s implementation of approved accommodations can be directed to the Associate Dean of Students.

Policies topic: Studying at Another Law School

Procedure for Applying to Study Elsewhere in the U.S.

A student seeking to study elsewhere in the United States must submit a petition requesting permission to do so for either Educational or Personal reasons. See below.

Petitions to the Dean of Academic Affairs should include:

  1. The name of the other university and/or law school,
  2. A description of the academic program which the student wishes to pursue,
  3. A description of the courses, unavailable at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, which the student intends to take at the other institution,
  4. An explanation of the likelihood, confirmed by the other institution, that the student will be able to take the desired courses,
  5. The purpose that will be satisfied by the proposed courses,
  6. The following graduation requirements must be completed at the Law School: the senior writing requirement and the experiential credit requirement. If the student has not completed the Law School’s Professional Responsibility course requirement or the full, two-year public service requirement, an explanation of how these will be completed,
  7. A copy of the student’s Law School transcript, and
  8. A realistic date, confirmed by the other school, when the Law School Registrar may expect to receive the student’s grades at the conclusion of his or her work there.

Deadline for Educational Reasons

The deadline for submitting a petition for study elsewhere for “educational advantage” is February 1 of the academic year prior to the year the student seeks to be away from the Law School.

Petitions to Study Elsewhere for Personal Reasons & Deadline

Petitions to study elsewhere for personal reasons must be submitted to the Dean of Students and may be made anytime up to June 1 following the student’s second year.

Petitions to Study Abroad

Please visit the study abroad international site to learn about policies and procedures related to studying abroad.

Tuition and Fees

A student permitted to study elsewhere for either “educational advantage” or for “personal reasons” shall pay to the University of Pennsylvania the total sum of the Law School’s tuition and fees minus the tuition and fees of the other law school, or 5% of our Law School’s tuition and fees, whichever amount is greater.

A student studying away for “educational advantage” is required to provide to Penn’s Associate Dean for Student Affairs a statement from the appropriate official of the other law school certifying the charge in tuition and fees made to the student. This statement is due in the Associate Dean’s office by November 1 of the year of enrollment. If the other law school is located in a foreign country, the exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and the foreign currency shall be that in effect on the first Monday in November.

The Law School Registrar shall soon thereafter provide to the student a bill. Payment of this bill shall be due on February 1 of the academic year. This sum is to be paid before the University of Pennsylvania will certify the graduation of the student.

A student studying law at another university for a full academic year or a semester is not eligible for scholarships/grants from the University or the Law School. In addition, the student will not be eligible for either Perkins or McKean loans. Applications for the Direct Loan Program and/or private loans will be processed by the University Loan Office and should be filed in a timely manner to ensure prompt receipt of funds. The amount of their non-matriculation fee, if based on the difference between Penn’s tuition and that of the host institution may be reduced if the student is the recipient grants or scholarships. Further information can be obtained from the Admissions and Financial Aid Office in the Law School.

Coursework and Transfer of Credit

Penn Carey Law will not accept credit for courses taken outside of the host Law School; non-law course credits will not be transferred over. Courses must be taken for a grade; there is not an option to elect to take a course pass/fail. The exception is when the only grading option for the course is pass/fail.

Personal Reasons

In rare cases, students may be given permission to study elsewhere for personal reasons, which include medical emergency and marriage. A student who is or will be married before the Graduation date, or is involved in a documented long-term same-gender relationship, may petition to spend one or two semesters of their third year at another school, if their spouse/partner is located in another region.

Educational Advantage

The administration of Penn Carey Law has discretion to approve a request for a third year law student to study at another law school when, apart from personal reasons, the student can demonstrate that there will be significant educational advantage in studying law at another university, whether in the United States or abroad. The administration may take budgetary and financial considerations into account in deciding whether or not to permit students to study at another university. No more than five students may be given permission to study law at another university for academic reasons in any one academic year. (Faculty minutes, March 19, 1984)